June 2, 2006
Manslaughter and Malpractice
The number of doctors prosecuted for manslaughter has risen steeply since 1990, but the proportion of doctors convicted remains low. Prosecution for deliberately violating rules is understandable, but accounts for only a minority of these cases. Unconscious errors—mistakes and slips (or lapses)—are an inescapable consequence of human actions and prosecution of individuals is unlikely to improve patient safety. That requires improvement to the complex systems of health care.
How -- if at all -- might the conclusions be relevant to civil liability in the US?
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